How to Love Refugees Like Jesus

About a week ago my little brother was on his way home from a football game and his car was hit by a deer. His car is totaled but thankfully he is okay. Also, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it is fairly common in Arkansas for someone’s car to get hit by a deer. We also solely drink sweet tea and don’t wear shoes. (I’m kidding but the deer thing is real.) The point in me telling you about my brother is that it brought me to a place of remembering that I really do take my brother for granted. This also led me to realize that I take my family for granted. Then I decided that I take all my loved ones, my school, my home, my bed, my freedoms… I take all of it for granted.

I have a love/hate relationship with politics. Actually, pretty much all hate. I think it is necessary for us to know what is happening in the world, but I hate how divisive politics are. I hate that when a person is associated with a certain political party, they can quickly be lumped into a group of people that they may or may not have anything in common with. A label of democrat or republican can make us stop looking at people as individuals, but instead as a category. When we do this, label each other and stuff one another into boxes, we start to lose sight of humanity and start to think of people as statistics or one of those instead of just Jim or Sally. We get so caught up in politics that we start to alienate ourselves from people that we are called to love unconditionally. This is especially hurtful when it starts to divide the church. 

How dare we call ourselves Christians and turn a blind eye on the suffering of our brothers and sisters?

I’ve been debating opening this can of worms on my blog ever since the executive order was passed, but I decided life is short and I should just do it. I pray that no one gets offended  by anything I say, but I should not be silenced on account of worrying what others will think. There are a lot of people in the world right now that do not have a home. There are people in this world being separated from their families and brutally killed. When my little brother got into a car accident, I realized that terrible things can happen, and we should not take anyone or anything for granted. But you guys, these terrible things are happening. They are real, they are now, and they are horrible. They are things you want to never have to see or hear about. They are the things you want to believe cannot happen in the world. They’re the things that make you believe evil exists. How dare we call ourselves Christians and turn a blind eye on the suffering of our brothers and sisters? How dare we make this about the politics instead of unifying and reaching out to the people that are suffering?

I am not trying to share my political opinion. I don’t want to be known by a label or a stereotype. But I do want to encourage my fellow believers to open your eyes to the suffering around you. You and I have the opportunity to change the world for Jesus. We are called to action and we are called to it now. Ephesians 5:14 is one of my favorite calls to action in the entire Bible. It says, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Church, it is time for us to wake up. I am as guilty as anyone in talking a lot about the refugee crisis but not taking many practical steps in helping them. And I am called to more than that. You are called to more than that.

They need the love of a Savior that loves, loves, and keeps on loving.

I am not trying to discourage anyone, I just want us to be awake and part of this world that is so broken and screaming out for an answer. These people need a hope that this world is incapable of giving. For some, their hope was in America. That has failed them, so where are they now? They need something that will accept them and never turn them away. They need the love of a Savior that loves, loves, and keeps on loving. Who are we to distract ourselves with petty arguments instead of sharing the hope we have with people who need it? But in addition to this, Jesus is so much louder in our actions than our words. If you aren’t loving people, they aren’t going to listen to you. More than telling people about Jesus, we need to show them Jesus through the way we live our lives, pouring out love as we walk in the peace of God’s grace.

I will leave you with a verse from Esther. Esther is my all-time favorite woman in the Bible. She is who I want to be when I grow up. Basically, Esther is a Jew who, by crazy circumstances, marries the King and becomes a Queen. However, the King does not know his bride is a Jew, and he is plotting to annihilate all of the Jews. The Lord called her to speak before the king and plead for her people, even though it was extremely probable that coming before the king with something like this would result in death. It’s a much longer and much more intense story, but there’s the gist. Esther 4:14 says, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

And that’s it. If we remain silent, God will still move, but maybe the reason why we are here is to do something to help these refugees. It is easy to ignore or refuse to act because of fear or comfortability, but living an easy life is not living a full life. You are made for more than to sit, motionless. You are made for big things. Huge things. And that all starts by looking around and actually seeing the things that are happening to the people around you. We need to see, and then we need to act.

If you live in the Fayetteville area, you can learn more about an awesome program called Canopy here. There are opportunities to volunteer and donate. If you aren’t from here, I highly encourage you to figure out what is around you and get involved! People who assume the other guy will do it never make a difference. It’s time to show the world what Jesus meant when he said to love your neighbor as yourself. And who knows, what if you are here for such a time as this?

With love,

Claire

 

(featured photo by the lovely Aubrey Vassburg.)

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